Ferrari has fired on the belief that it allows the Red Bull to “hook off” by opting to be pitted under a safety car at the end of the inaugural Miami Grand Prix.
An accident involving Pierre Gasley of Alfatourry and Lando Norris of McLaren in Cole 41 raised the yellow flag and gave Ferrari a maximum chance to win the race with a tactical gamble.
Red Bull’s Max Verstappen led the race, and Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sange were second and third, respectively.
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Therefore, putting fresh rubber under the yellow flag, and losing minimal time due to slowing down of the car, seemed like an irresistible move.
While Verstapen crossed the holes by the time a virtual safety car became a full-fledged safety vehicle, Leclerc and Senge still couldn’t.
But, surprisingly, Ferrari puts both drivers in old tires.
All Red Bull and Ferrari drivers were strict.
Red Bull boss Christian Horner said, “Ferrari leaves us a bit of a hook when we go from a virtual safety car to a full safety car.”
“Max has already passed Pitt Entry, where Ferrari had a free stop. They did not take it with any of their vehicles.
“We’re grateful for that, because I think if they had a softer tire, it would be a P3 today (for Verstappen).”
Instead, Verstappen won for the second time in a row as Ferrari won second and third.
But Ferrari had run out of its new softs and mediums, and Chief Matia Binotto explained the thinking behind leaving new hardware in the garage.
“We believed that in the case of warm-ups, a used tire would be stronger than a new one,” said Binotto.
“We would have had more warm-up problems with a new hard drive that was available in our garage.
“So we decided to stay out because we believed it was a good warm-up for us and the best chance to attack the first lap (after the safety car period), which happened.
“I think the best opportunity for Charles was in the first lap after the safety car and of course he was close to that stage.
“And for Carlos, too, (it helped) to try to save Checo (Sergio Perez) with new means.”
Despite having a tough time fighting to stay ahead of Perez, Sange backed Ferrari’s call to stay on track.
“I knew Checo was going to pit because he had a new medium,” Senge said.
“Our alternative is a used soft, or a new hard, which for me – both were not good enough for 10-12 laps.
“I think it was the right call because in the end we were able to keep (Perez) behind.
“But it was tight, he had everything, actually all the cards to pass me. I was a little surprised that we were ahead because it was a tight, tight fight.”
Worstapen’s great weekend in Miami, which saw him win and collect a bonus point for the fastest lap clock, means that Leclerc, now at the top of the table, is now just 19 points ahead.
The title fight at the Spanish Grand Prix will resume next weekend.
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